In Ile-de-France, a regional regulatory unit to “ensure that all women about to give birth are well taken care of”

Amélie Verdier, former director of the budget within the Ministry of Economy and Finance, has been director of the Ile-de-France regional health agency since July 2021. She succeeded Aurélien Rousseau, now director of the office of Elisabeth Borne, Prime Minister.

The hospital crisis is hitting maternities hard. What is the situation in Ile-de-France?

Ile-de-France maternity hospitals are in a fragile situation and, for some, in Seine-Saint-Denis or in part of Val-d’Oise, very fragile. We are very careful about it. Tensions are mainly due to the lack of midwives. In Seine-Saint-Denis, we could reach a shortage of staff of 35% of midwifery positions throughout the department during the summer, which is unprecedented.

Ile-de-France is already generally less well off than other regions, with 73 midwives per 100,000 inhabitants, compared to 79 at the national level. At the same time, we have this heavy tendency, at home as elsewhere, of midwives who wish to practice as a liberal rather than in the hospital. Between 2011 and 2022, the workforce in liberal and mixed practice has thus increased by 172%, while those in health establishments have almost stagnated (+ 3%). Since the Covid-19 crisis, there has even been a 10% decrease in the number of midwives in the hospital. A downward trend that started in 2016.

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How are you preparing for the summer, an already difficult period in maternity wards, with an activity that is prolonged, even increased, but a reduced staff?

In the short term, several measures are in place. Establishments can enter into an agreement to increase overtime on shortage occupations, such as that of midwifery, by around 30%. We can work to complete the pool of liberals, retirees, students in training, who support the teams.

We are also going to bring regional solidarity into play. To ensure that all women about to give birth and emergencies are well taken care of in a maternity ward, we are opening a regional regulatory cell in the next few days. This device already exists for pathological pregnancies, but, in view of the tensions, we are thus going to declare her guilty for all pregnancies. This is to rule out the slightest risk that a patient finds herself in front of an establishment where she could not be accommodated.

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